On November 26, 1703, a great gale tore through England.  Some Londoners had narrow escapes on the chaos and others died, among them Joan Fletcher, the shrewish wife of Alan Fletcher the ironmonger.  But the savage blow that split her head open points to other circumstances.  George Man, a young Parish watchman, trails the ironmonger through the streets as the storm rages,to find that Flecther has a secret life amongst a web of intrigue that stretches from the brothels of Westminster to the Tilbury brickworks, owned by mysterious Dissenter Daniel Defoe.  He, Man realises, holds the keys to the murder, if he can only be found.